Opportunities identified to grow our tourism economy

Council’s reinforced its drive to strengthen the region’s tourism economy by renewing the City’s partnership with Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine (TGGB) and neighbouring councils for another four years.

Figures presented to the Council during tonight’s meeting reveal, that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry is still expected to inject $763 million into the region in the 2021 financial year.

It directly employs 7,551 people and supports more than 2,600 businesses.

Due to the pandemic and changing travel restrictions, our region’s tourism economy is now largely driven by day trips and short breaks with visitors from Victoria visiting friends and relatives, leading to busier weekends and slower weekdays.

More than 83 per cent of travellers are from within Victoria and half of those are coming from as close as the western and central suburbs of Melbourne.

TGGB represents one of the most visited regions outside of Melbourne, covering Geelong and The Bellarine (City of Greater Geelong), Queenscliff (Borough of Queenscliffe) and the Moorabool Valley (Golden Plains Shire).

The Council has also noted the 2021-25 Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine Corporate Plan, a strategic document developed through tourism industry engagement that sets out a clear direction to drive both recovery and growth from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan forecasts a return to a $1.1 billion visitor economy, as seen prior to March 2020, by 2024.

TGGB is committed to increasing visitor numbers, nights spent in the region and expenditure through the following objectives:

  • Strengthen people’s connection to the region through effective marketing;
  • Plan for balanced growth that delivers economic, social and environmental benefit for future generations to enjoy;
  • Collaborate to deliver exceptional value; and
  • Strengthen the capability of the region to flourish through a ‘new normal’ and support our people through recovery.

A number of opportunities have been identified, including growing the value of the strong visiting friends and relatives market, engaging with domestic repeat and seasoned visitors and creating year-round visitation through regional business events.

A 10-year Destination Masterplan for the region will be developed as part of the corporate plan, focused on sustainable destination development to support a resilient visitor economy.

The renewed partnership means the City will continue to provide resources to TGGB, coordinate the operations of Visitor Information Centres within the municipality and enhance the experiences of international students via Study Geelong.

Last year, the Greater Geelong Council provided $633,000 in COVID recovery initiatives to boost the local tourism industry, attract business events and support international students.

Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said continuing the partnership is a critical contribution to the regeneration of our visitor economy.

Council recognises the importance of tourism to the community in providing job opportunities, generating economic activity and showcasing our magnificent region to the world.

The tourism industry has been one of the worst hit during the pandemic and our partnership with Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine is so important to the recovery of these largely, locally-based businesses.

Deputy Mayor Trent Sullivan, Chair of the Tourism portfolio said the renewed partnership with TGGB and its strategic vision are a positive step in the region’s recovery.

Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine plays an incredibly important role in attracting new and repeat visitors and enhancing the region’s brand.

As we face evolving challenges from the pandemic, TGGB’s work will continue to focus on strengthening our tourism industry, building resilience and finding new opportunities that the region will benefit from.

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